So, we were engaged! A fine evening, the 6 of April, 2007, had changed my life forever. The bus we took went through the night and got us to Rey's hometown around 9 am. We waited in the rain at the bus stop for Rey's brother to come pick us up. After running him back home, we turned around to go back to church. It was Easter weekend, and we wanted to catch the service.
We brushed our teeth out in the front parking lot, spitting into the gravel. We smoothed down our hair in the window, re-adjusted our travel-rumpled clothes and went into church. Of course, the church was packed, and the only seats open were all the way in the front...
Upon returning to Rey's house, we found his mom was very ill. She suffers from osteoporosis and it seems that perhaps the weather made her sick with horrible body aches. We ran her to the Red Cross in town and sat in the office for a couple hours. After getting her back home and making sure she was ok, Rey took me over to the deaf school so I could shower before the evening church service. Problem was, the shower didn't work. So, we boiled some huge pots of water on the cafeteria stoves and I took a tepid bucket bath.
From the church service, Rey took me to the bus station. And here it was--goodbye again. One of the last, we hoped. I got onto a Greyhound bus departing around 9pm, hoping things would go better than on the way down. I was completly exhausted from all the travel and excitement of the last few days and fell asleep in probably 20 minutes.
I was awakened by a flashlight shining in my eyes, and a burly man shouting at me in Spanish. My groggy mind was not translating fast enough--and I realized I was in an empty bus. "Get out!" the man shouting, gesturing the way to the door with his flashlight. I looked out the window and saw a line of people snaking from the bus to a terminal. Oh! We were on the bridge. We had to get off for customs. I stumbled out and managed to find my suitcase to haul it through inspections.
It felt so cruel to have just slipped into blissful sleep and then be tossed back into line in a brightly lit office. After about 30 minutes, we were back on the bus and getting settled back in. I kept hoping that I would continue to experience good fortune and have an empty seat next to me. The luxury!
As I was just being lulled to sleep again by the rocking of the bus, we pulled into another blindingly bright terminal. A man jumped aboard and walked through the bus, counting empty seats. Uh-oh, I groaned.
Completing his count, he returned to the front of the bus and grabbed the microphone: "Ok, people. This bus is going to fill completely. Clear all the seats and make room." I wasn't the only one groaning.
The man stepped off, giving entrance to a seeming mob of people all rushing for spots. And then I saw her. My soon-to-be seatmate. She was large, very large. I kept my eyes on the ground, hoping she would see a seat far more suitable than the one next to me. She didn't. She kind of hefted herself into my row and sank down into her chair. And mine. I am not exaggerating. She literally took half of my seat and was taking up much of the aisle to her right.
I can easily get claustrophobic, and when guy in front of me reclined his seat--I was near panic. I was sitting on half of a seat, a backpack on my legs, squished under a reclined seat and against a window. The woman next to me ripped open a bag of chips and commenced crunching. I leaned my head down against the crack at the bottom of the window, taking in whatever cold air was coming in there... and prayed that the woman would get off at the next stop. Or the next. I felt horrible. I knew Mother Teresa would never have entertained the thoughts I was entertaining, but I was exhausted. That excuses all, right?
But, since this trip was one to remember, the woman stayed on the bus. All the way back to Houston. About 8 hours.
I was so glad--although I don't know if that word is emphatic enough--to unfurl my crunched up body and clamber off the bus around 6 am the next morning. I called a cab from the bus station. I started getting nervous that I was going to miss my flight when the taxi didn't show up.. but then it did. And I made my flight. Just barely.
We now had to get the paperwork together for Rey to be able to come up for the wedding. It's always nice for the groom to be there. ;)
God was smiling on us, because the process went along at a good speed and Rey was called in for his interview at the end of July. This was good, since we'd tentively set up the wedding for August 25. Thinking that I may be needed as testimony for Rey's petition for a Fiancee Visa, my mom and I flew down.
Hmm. Should I tell you that we actually missed our original flight out of Bloomington because someone missread the itinerary? Cough. I had read what was our arrival time as our departure time. We ended up waiting for another flight. Good thing there was an IHOP nearby, and that the following flights pretty much worked themselves out--although it did require some speedy connection runs through the terminals.
We flew into El Paso, Tx and then took a rental car across the border into Juarez where Rey was to be interviewed. Thank goodness that Juarez was not quite as dangerous as it is now--although it has long been a city where one needs to know where he is and not be out after dark.
When we saw Rey walking along the sidewalk just across the bridge--it was so surreal to pull up next to the curb and yell out the window. "Hey, good-looking! Need a ride?" And to think it had only been about 3 1/2 months since we'd seen each other last!